Rehab Select Blog

Using Short Term Rehab to Create a Care Plan for Parkinson

Posted by Bobby Stephenson

Mar 28, 2018 8:00:00 AM

short term rehab parkinson'sIf you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you should know that short term rehabilitation can help. The treatment and therapy offered by a good short term rehab program can be very helpful in the management of some of the symptoms and problems that go along with this degenerative neurological disease, helping patients prolong independence and improve quality of life.


Research has shown that rehabilitation therapies can offer effective aid in managing Parkinson’s disease, and that a multidisciplinary approach to care is key to the best management results. For example, in a study published in the journal “Progress in Neurology and Psychiatry,” researchers found that effective care of Parkinson’s disease patients should involve a multidisciplinary team of professionals, and that evidence showed that rehabilitation professionals, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, clinical psychologists and neurologists, among others, are essential to that team. According to those researchers, this is because rehabilitation therapies have been shown to be effective in addressing many of the functional and psychosocial consequences of the disease, which are typically the most pressing problems for patients, especially in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease.

So how can short term rehab help Parkinson’s patients?

Short term rehab gives patients exactly what these researchers find most effective for addressing Parkinson’s disease symptoms: Treatment and therapy delivered by a tightly-coordinated, multidisciplinary team of professionals. Teams are led by rehabilitation physicians, and typically include physical, occupational and speech therapists, rehabilitation nursing staff, social workers, psychologists and counselors, nutritionists, and neurological and behavioral specialists.This team of professionals works in collaboration to address the needs of Parkinson’s disease patients. Issues that are commonly addressed in short term rehab include:

  • Balance problems

  • Muscle and joint stiffness, weakness and/or pain

  • Gait (walking) issues

  • Fatigue

  • Coordination issues

  • Speech and/or voice issues

  • Swallowing/aspiration problems

  • Bladder control/incontinence problems

Parkinson’s disease patients can preserve or regain independence by improving some of these issues, increasing their level of daily function. In areas of function that cannot be significantly improved due to the progressive nature of the disease, patients can often benefit from instruction and training in the use of adaptive equipment and strategies to aid everyday function, giving them the means to improve or maintain their level of independent function. For example, strength and balance training can improve gait and steadiness while walking, increasing safety and independence. When unsteadiness or gait problems are not significantly improved with these therapies, patients can be trained in the use of walking aids to create the necessary improvements in safety and independence.

So, while Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that cannot be cured by a stay in short term rehab, the treatment a good program offers can help minimize its impact on daily life. Parkinson's disease patients can, with the help of rehabilitation therapy, manage their symptoms more effectively, maintaining a higher level of function and a better quality of life for longer than they would without this type of intervention.

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Topics: Short Term Rehab